Family Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Least Concern

Red-throated Bee-eater (Merops bulocki)


French: Guêpier à gorge rouge German: Rotkehlspint Spanish: Abejaruco gorjirrojo

Merops Bulocki

[sic] Vieillot

, 1817,



Has been placed with other small, rounded-winged species lacking tail-streamers in genus Melittophagus (see M. bullockoides). Close to M. bullockoides, with which sometimes treated as conspecific. A rare yellow-throated variant was first described as a separate species, M. boleslavskii. Specific name sometimes listed as bullocki, but this an unjustified emendation, unsupported by internal evidence in the original description. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. b. bulocki Vieillot, 1817 – Senegal E to Central African Republic.
  • M. b. frenatus Hartlaub, 1854 – W Ethiopia, SE Sudan, South Sudan, NE DRCongo and NW Uganda.
  • Descriptive notes

    22 cm; 21–28 g. Green above, with deep buff hindneck and upper mantle; broad black eyestripe, scarlet throat; buff below, with blue lower belly and under­tail-... read more


    Quite vocal, uttering a variety of rather loud melodious calls. Commonest call from perched or... read more


    Bushy savanna dissected by small wooded rivers and seasonal streams; well-timbered gardens and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet at Zaria, Nigeria, is honeybees (Apis), varying from 5% in Jul–Aug to 45% in Mar–Jun; stingless bees taken... read more


    Burrows dug in Sept, before ground dries and hardens; eggs laid in Feb–Mar. Colonial, with usually 5–50 occupied burrows in... read more


    In most regions strictly resident, birds remaining all year within few hundred metres of colony;... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common, at least locally. In Nigeria, density near Zaria 260 breeding pairs in 25 km², or 21 birds/km², and in Yankari Game Reserve 25–50 birds... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. & Boesman, P. (2019). Red-throated Bee-eater (Merops bulocki). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 April 2019).